The Pan Celtic Festival returns to Derry for the second consecutive year this week, as it celebrates its 44th year.
The festival is a celebration of the cultural links between the nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man and a jam-paccked programme starts today, Tuesday 7th April, and runs until Sunday 12th April.
One of the biggest attractions at the festival will no doubt be the Parade of Nations on Saturday 11th April, which last year was hailed as a cross-community success, including participation by pipe bands from both traditions.
Also taking part in the parade will be the world-famous Armagh Rhymers, whose uniquely Irish mumming tradition has brought them to international stages such as Glastonbury festival.
They will conclude the Parade of Nations with an open-air performance in Guildhall Square.
The festival will be officially opened today, Tuesday 7th April, at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in a ceremony that will display the culture and traditions of each of the participating nations.
Chairperson of the festival, Gearóid Ó hEára said, “We are proud to bring a world-class selection of performers from across the Celtic nations for the festival, and look forward to them performing across the city during Easter week.
“Audiences will be impressed by the diversity of entertainment we have in store, and the visitors from the Celtic nations will provide street entertainment throughout the week, contributing to the typical festive atmosphere that has become a trademark of the city.”
The backbone of the festival is a series of cultural competitions, with one of the highlight events being the Pan Celtic Song Contest on Thursday 9th April, which attracts an eclectic mix of entries from each nation of newly composed songs across a range of genres.
Each night from Wednesday 8th to Saturday 11th April a different nation will host the Festival Club in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin’s newest venue, the Glassworks.
Everyone is welcome to attend these nights of singing, dancing and plenty of craic.
Tickets for individual events can be purchased online at www.culturlann-doire.ie or through the Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin box office.
For more information on the festival, visit www.panceltic.ie or call +44 (0)2871 264 132.